Five-Card Stud Rules & Game Play

Final Table Chip Stack

Online poker has resurrected nearly every form of poker considered near extinction.

One game that is still struggling to find a following, though, is Five-Card Stud.

While the game is still trying to find its niche online, it is spread by a few sites and very much worth playing.

Here are the official rules to 5-Card Stud poker and a basic strategy guide.

Ante Up and Deal

Prior to the deal in Five-Card Stud, every player posts an ante.

The first two cards are then dealt, one face down and one up. The player with the lowest upcard showing must make a forced bet known as "the bring-in."

This bet is typically half the size of the small bet but sometimes is a custom amount based on the betting limits.

Jennifer Harman
Note: A completion is not a raise.

The bring-in player also has the option to complete the bet to the size of the small bet. After the bring-in player acts, action continues clockwise around the table.

If the bring-in player does not complete the bet, the next player has the option to complete the bet.

Please note that a completion is not a raise. Once the bet has been completed, raises occur in the small bet amount. Action continues around the table until all bets are equal.

Third Street to the River

After action is completed on second street, a second upcard is dealt.

Betting on third street begins with the player showing the highest hand and continues around the table. In the event more than one player has the high hand, action begins with the player closest to the stud button.

Betting action continues in the small bet amount on third street. Please note that an open pair does not incur a double bet like in Seven-Card Stud High.

Once third-street betting is completed, a third upcard is dealt with action beginning with the high hand. Bets from fourth street forward are in the double bet amount.

After fourth-street betting is completed, a final upcard is dealt and the final betting round begins with the high hand.

Once betting action is completed, players showdown with the best five-card hand taking the pot.

General Strategy Tips

Five-Card Stud is a game of pairs and high cards. You want to make sure your starting hand strategy reflects this.

Obviously, any pair is going to be playable on second street. Next, two cards that are higher than your opponents upcards are strong starters.

A hole card that's higher than your opponents' upcards is good for seeing past second street.

If your upcard is higher than your opponent's upcards, this is a great hand to complete with to try to take the pot down immediately.

Paul Fishman
An old game still trying to find a new niche.

Hitting an open pair with this high card will likely result in you taking the hand right away.

Pay attention to your opponents' hands and do your best to remember folded cards. This helps you track outs and put other players on hands. 

If a player has been checking or calling along and just started betting, odds are he's just paired his hole card. You will see this most often after someone spikes an ace or king on a later street.

As in Stud High, beware the paired door card. A good percentage of the time your opponent just hit trips.

Still Looking for a New Following

Five-Card Stud is one of the last "dinosaur" games that has yet to catch a huge following online.

While there are a few sites still spreading it, operators have yet to find a way to popularize it like Five-Card Draw.

Full Tilt Poker, Titan Poker and Betfair are among the sites that still list this game among their offerings.

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